Experience with Prentice Women's Hospital for birth? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 37 Old 09-30-2008, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi - I am expecting my second baby this spring. My first son was born at home in Seattle (with the most wonderful midwife!), largely because I wasn't happy with any of my birthing center options there. While I would be happy to do a homebirth this time, since we live in an apartment with somewhat thin walls, I am also interested in birthing center options not too far from Hyde Park (downtown is fine).

I have heard the Prentice Women's Hospital has great new facilities and was curious if anyone has any experience with them. The UoC hospital is also covered under my insurance but I don't know anything about them. It is very important to me to work with a midwife (or wives) and feel very secure that I will not be pressured into any premature interventions. My first labor was very long and hard though perfectly healthy in the end.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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#2 of 37 Old 10-01-2008, 12:29 PM
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Well, I haven't given birth at Prentice, though I know many women who have. They apparently do have beautiful new facilities. But my advice, if you don't want to be pressured into interventions and you're hoping for a natural birth is to steer FAR FAR clear of Prentice. I think they're great if you want a mainstream, medicated, highly monitored birth. They have so few natural births there that they don't really know how to handle them, their staff isn't used to them, and they have a lot of policies not very conducive to natural birth. I know several women who have switched practices at the last minute (8 months pregnant) because it became apparent their practitioners at Prentice weren't willing to even try to respect their birth plans.
They do have one midwife practice (I believe), but I've heard that just working with midwives there doesn't make much difference in terms of the overall experience - in large part because the hospital staff is SO unsupportive of natural births.

Two places that are great are Evanston Hospital with the midwives at Northshore Associates - I had a GREAT experience - and the midwives at West Suburban. I haven't been to West Suburban, but have heard nothing but great things. I don't know that either of those are that convenient for you in Oak Park, though could be worth the drive for the experience. Maybe others have suggestions even closer to you? Unfortunately, I haven't heard great things about the U of C Hospitals for births....
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#3 of 37 Old 10-01-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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Hi,
I had my first dd at prentice, so it was before they re-did it. I was induced and other than that had a fine birth experience. We were very lucky that there was a nurse there who was interested in hypnobirthing. So I was never offered any meds. She also left us alone and didn't come to to find out my pain level.
However, before that nurse got there the nurses where driving me a bit crazy. Every time I would get comfortable they would bother me because I wasn't progressing.
I had a birth plan and a doula there with us so that made a difference as well. My second dd was born at Evanston. it was very different experience but we also got there two hours before she was born and left 23 hours after her birth.
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#4 of 37 Old 10-01-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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I have read accounts from women on this board that they had good experiences. However, when I was a post-partum doula every single one of my clients had a c-section.
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#5 of 37 Old 10-01-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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I have a good friend who had a successful, unmedicated birth there (pre-new facility) without interventions. She also had a doula present at her birth.

Personally, I've chosen to birth at home. I was 35 with the first and the next is due 2 days after my 39th birthday. I think I'm too much at risk to be treated like an "advanced maternal age" statistic and end up with a birth experience I want neither for myself for my baby (even though I have no health issues or complications to speak of - the label alone is enough for me to steer far, far away from mainstream obstetrics) to choose to birth anywhere else.

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#6 of 37 Old 10-02-2008, 12:48 PM
 
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I know someone who just had her baby there yesterday. She went in at 4 cm and they broke her water right away. Then an hour later they determined she wasn't progressing enough so they put her on pitocin. The baby wasn't breathing when he was born, but seems to be doing just fine now. I was surprised by how quickly they broke her water and gave her pitocin.

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#7 of 37 Old 10-02-2008, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm. This is all very interesting ... I don't know what to think! I guess at the very least I will go in for an appointment and get their stats and just feel it out from there. I just want my last midwife - she was so great

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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#8 of 37 Old 10-03-2008, 02:22 AM
 
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My ds was born at Prentice in 2004 and we had the CNMs with NWPG. I cannot stress highly enough to stay as far away from Prentice as possible if you don't want a medically-managed experience. They talk the talk, but become different people when they walk in the door at the hospital. West Suburban Midwives in Oak Park are awesome, and if you're looking in to home birth (we had our dd in our 700sf apartment last summer) I'm sure you'll be able to find some midwives to help make that happen. A Woman's Place and Sarah Simmons are recommended often on here. Good Luck!

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#9 of 37 Old 10-03-2008, 03:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LittleGriff View Post
Hmmm. This is all very interesting ... I don't know what to think! I guess at the very least I will go in for an appointment and get their stats and just feel it out from there. I just want my last midwife - she was so great
I should add that I went there for an appointment to interview the midwife. After waiting for an hour for my scheduled appointment, with no signs of my seeing her any time soon, I left. When asked if I wanted to re-schedule, I declined.

Mama to add 10/05; ds 3/09, and two angels
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#10 of 37 Old 10-06-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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I'm going to really encourage giving West Suburban Midwife Associates a call (Gayle Riedman's group). Oak Park is not a far journey and it's really worth it.

I would avoid Prentice and U of C if you are looking for a gentle birth
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#11 of 37 Old 10-06-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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I'm going to really encourage giving West Suburban Midwife Associates a call (Gayle Riedman's group). Oak Park is not a far journey and it's really worth it.

I would avoid Prentice and U of C if you are looking for a gentle birth
I agree. I had two births a Prentice (pre-redo). You can have a natural birth there but it is a struggle. It is important to have a good health care provider who is on the same page as you, but getting what you want is hard from start to finish -- so I would encourage anyone who wants a non-interventist birth to go elsewhere. I have heard the new facilities are beautiful (plasma tvs and all) but the new facilities are not geared toward natural/non-intervenist birth.
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#12 of 37 Old 10-06-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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I used to have an OB/GYN at Northwestern; however, I switched once I became pregnant and inquired about natural child birth. They treated me like a freak and touted the benefits of c-section. I switched to Gayle Riedman's group in Oak Park--West Suburban Midwives--and was thoroughly pleased with the care I received. There are three midwives in the practice and they're all wonderful!

I delivered at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park. I had a very quick first labor--just 7 hours--so when my husband finally got me to the hospital I was completely dilated and delivered my son just an hour and a half later. My midwife was Julie Marks and she was very supportive. I used the ABC room--alternative birthing room--and had a water birth. I also used Hypnobirthing which allowed me to stay focused. I was pleased with the hospital staff as they left me alone, didn't force an IV or fetal monitor on me, and gave me lots of space. I hope this helps--good luck to you!
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#13 of 37 Old 10-07-2008, 10:39 AM
 
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I will pm you about Prentice tonight.

I don't recommend U of C at all for non-high risk birth experiences... I don't think midwives are on staff there and it's a fight to opt out of even small procedures: IVs/hep locks, pitocin after giving birth, continuous fetal monitoring. Not fair to mom at all!

I do want to put another vote in for the ABC at West Sub. Here normal birth is honored to unfold as it is meant to be. It probably will take you about 20 mins. or so from Hype Park (LSD to 290). 20 mins. is really not that long to navigate through Chicago especially for a potentially better birth experience...

I still think homebirth is an option for you, paper thin wall and all! After your first homebirth, I worry that a hospital birth might end up being dissapointing for you because you would be bound by hospital rules & the hospital vibe. (At home, you might be more comfortable if you have music going during your birth to take your mind off what you neighbors might hear!)
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#14 of 37 Old 10-07-2008, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow - what wonderful information! I really appreciate it. I ended up scheduling an appointment at Prentice today as I am starting my second trimester already and want to get in to see someone and was actually sort of curious to interview the midwives at Prentice after all these intriguing tidbits.

But based on the discussion here and the strangely difficult and unpleasant task of trying to just schedule an appointment (low marks on friendliness so far) - I don't expect that I will stay with them. As some have mentioned, I suspect the experience could be a very rude contrast with my very lovely first birth experience and the last thing I need is to feel that I need to defend myself and my birth expectations in the throes of labor.

I am very interested in the Oak Park option that people have mentioned. I forgot to say that the biggest reason I am interested in a birthing center is that I would really like to do a water birth and am not very excited about setting it up in my apartment. I'm actually a fairly quiet birther so I'm not sure why I mentioned the thin walls

Yeah, and UoC is out - they said they "lost" their midwives a few years ago. Sort of made my husband and me giggle as we imagined a gaggle of forlorn midwives wandering around the south side trying to find their way back. I'm not sure how you "lose" midwives but that simplifies that.

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#15 of 37 Old 10-09-2008, 11:38 AM
 
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West sub and Evanston are the only 2 places actively doing water birth that I'm aware of.

Gayle Riedman is very well known for her waterbirth expertise.

My second birth was a great waterbirth. First daughter was born on a squatting chair since the water was so relaxing-- it put me to sleep. LOL
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#16 of 37 Old 10-09-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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I understand you are in an apartment and waterbirths at home are a hassle. That is one thing about my recent homebirth I sort of wish I could have changed -- my husband had to do a lot of work to set it up, keep it warm and tear it down. But if you ask him, it was totally worth it and he would do it again and recommends to people that they do it. So maybe toy around with the logistics to figure out if you could make it happen at home.
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#17 of 37 Old 10-09-2008, 03:25 PM
 
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West sub and Evanston are the only 2 places actively doing water birth that I'm aware of.
For sure. Especially if you interview any CNMs at Prentice, be sure to ask them how many of their clients are actually having water births, because NMH has a heck of a lot of policies that can risk you out of birthing in water there.

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Gayle Riedman is very well known for her waterbirth expertise.
Yes yes yes! Gayle is awesome, knowledgable and super flexible.

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#18 of 37 Old 10-09-2008, 11:25 PM
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Actually, Evanston doesn't do waterbirths - they just have labor tubs, not birthing tubs - though I adore the midwives that work there and had a GREAT experience with my last birth there.
I think West Suburban is probably your best bet for what you're looking for, unless you decide to go with a home birth (and that might be complicated since you're due in April - I think the two main options for home births are pretty booked for April, though it's always worth giving them a call).

Incidentally, you mentioned you were looking into "birthing centers" because of the hassle of a water birth in an apartment - you probably already know this, but just to be clear, Illinois (at this point - it should change with the new law) doesn't actually have any birthing centers, only hospitals. Some of those hospitals - like West Sub and Illinois Masonic - have ABC sections, but it's not really the same thing, and I think there are often reasons you get risked out of them. Just an important distinction to be aware of.
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#19 of 37 Old 10-09-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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I had my son at the old Prentice with the midwives (Carol Hirschfield et al). He ended up breech and I ended up with a scheduled c-section (obviously, not their fault). That said, I was not really too happy with my experience there. It felt too much like a "baby factory". Too impersonal. Like you go there and you enter a machine. Stuff just starts happening to you.

I took a "natural childbirth class" before I had James. Of the 20 or so couples in the class, ONE had a great natural water birth.

My second child was a VBAC and I planned on giving birth with Gayle Reidman at West Sub until they lost their VBAC support. Instead I had my daughter at UIC with the Family Practice doctors. It was a fabulous natural birth, and while UIC was not as glamorous as Prentice, I felt like my care was much better. Much more individualized. I felt like I got much better information about the decisions I had to make and the nurses were better too.

I don't think the midwives at NMPG are bad people (I like Ariel Darrenger the best by far) but they work within a system that is so heavily tilted towards non-natural births that it's hard for them to just let it happen. I agree with OPs - ask how many of the clients actually GET a natural/water birth - not just whether they support them.

Oh - all of the U of C midwives (the "lost" ones) went to UIC, btw. UIC has a group of about 25 midwives and they're excellent. Family Practice at UIC is also great.

GOod luck with whereever you end up!

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#20 of 37 Old 10-10-2008, 12:51 AM
 
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A Woman's Place http://awomansplacechicago.com/does water births at Lincoln Park hospital http://www.lincolnparkhospital.com/contact.htm...

This could be another option for you and its relatively the same distance from Hyde Park as West Sub is. These are the same homebirth midwives acp mentioned in an above post about April being an issue....
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#21 of 37 Old 10-10-2008, 03:43 PM
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A Woman's Place http://awomansplacechicago.com/does water births at Lincoln Park hospital http://www.lincolnparkhospital.com/contact.htm...

This could be another option for you and its relatively the same distance from Hyde Park as West Sub is. These are the same homebirth midwives acp mentioned in an above post about April being an issue....
THat's very true. If you're 100 percent certain you want a hospital birth, I would think West Sub would be your best option, since I've heard Lincoln Park Hospital is slightly dingy and not as great an atmosphere. But if you have any interest in being open to a home birth, Jennifer and Amy at A Woman's Place do both home births and water births at Lincoln Park, and they're fine with clients waiting until near the very end to decide if they want a home or hospital birth. They are filling up fast (if they're not already full) for April, I know, but it could be worth a call...
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#22 of 37 Old 12-19-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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I used to have an OB/GYN at Northwestern; however, I switched once I became pregnant and inquired about natural child birth. They treated me like a freak and touted the benefits of c-section. I switched to Gayle Riedman's group in Oak Park--West Suburban Midwives--and was thoroughly pleased with the care I received. There are three midwives in the practice and they're all wonderful!

I delivered at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park. I had a very quick first labor--just 7 hours--so when my husband finally got me to the hospital I was completely dilated and delivered my son just an hour and a half later. My midwife was Julie Marks and she was very supportive. I used the ABC room--alternative birthing room--and had a water birth. I also used Hypnobirthing which allowed me to stay focused. I was pleased with the hospital staff as they left me alone, didn't force an IV or fetal monitor on me, and gave me lots of space. I hope this helps--good luck to you!
I had the exact same experience.
I loved my OB at Northwestern but the chance of getting him was so small and he was not allowed to use the tubs. To get the tub at all you had to switch to their midwives. I had 2 appointments and both were horrible. The first told me i was required to have an appointment with the anestesiologist (sp) since I would probably want and epi. I switched to West Sub midwives and have a wonderful experience with Gayle. It is interesting that ofter the birth I missed all 3 of them and felt like just going in to say hi. I had gotten so comfortable with them during my prenatal care.

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#23 of 37 Old 12-19-2008, 05:18 PM
 
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Just to update this thread with current information:

Lincoln Park Hospital closed, and Amy is no longer with A Woman's Place. It is just Jennifer now.
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#24 of 37 Old 12-19-2008, 05:21 PM
 
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I heard the rumors about this. Do you know the reason for the split? Are they both strictly homebirth midwives now or are either of them hooking up with another hospital?
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#25 of 37 Old 12-19-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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It felt too much like a "baby factory". Too impersonal. Like you go there and you enter a machine. Stuff just starts happening to you.
I don't have any experience with Prentice, but I have heard it called a "baby factory" because of the number of babies born there and the fact that there is really no individualized care.

I delivered with Julie Marks from WSmidwives at West Sub and it was a great experience. I highly, highly recommend them! I did not have a water birth, but I did labor in the tub for a while. (It was really warm in the room and with the hot water, I was just getting overheated.) Julie was very hands off. For a lot of the time it was just me an DH together. We didn't really see the nurse (it was a fast delivery though) until DS was almost born and then she just helped w/clean up.

I also had a good experience with the hospital staff. They pretty much left us alone. All of the nurses were very pro-BF, I bedshared with DS in the queen size bed the whole time and no one blinked an eye, and there was no hassle about refusing things/RIC.

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It is interesting that ofter the birth I missed all 3 of them and felt like just going in to say hi. I had gotten so comfortable with them during my prenatal care.
I do too!! I was actually a little excited that we might have thrush. I was going to make an appointment and go in, but then I wanted DS' lungs and ears checked as he also has a bad cold, so we went to the GP. By the end, Julie felt like a great friend.

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#26 of 37 Old 12-19-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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I heard the rumors about this. Do you know the reason for the split? Are they both strictly homebirth midwives now or are either of them hooking up with another hospital?
nope. Jennifer still does home and hospital -- I believe she has privileges at norwegian now. no idea what happened to amy, who helped with J's birth in Sept.
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#27 of 37 Old 12-23-2008, 11:39 PM
 
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I had my 1st child in 2002 at Prentice with NWPG CNM's and I had a waterbirth planned. I don't have a horror story, but no glowing praise either. I did get an unmedicated vaginal birth, but it was because my body and son didn't give them time to think about it.
They are super busy. While I only pushed for about 1/2 hour, I had to do it looking at the birthing tub that they were too busy to fill up. This was becaue they didn't think I was progressed as far as I was. (U/S estimated my baby at 11 pounds and they introduced me to a DR. due to size.) He was only 7'14 and 21inches. I think they discounted my ability to have him naturally because they were relying on the U/S technology. For that I fault them. I will say the nurses were very easy going and I had a great doula so that helped. I do credit them for not pushing to induce, they let me go a week late without pushing inducuction. Ultimately I only labored for 6 hours at hospital or things could have turned out differently, but I credit my body, hypnobirthing classes, and the birthball for that.

I have to say the fact that they even offer CNM's is great. I live in St. Louis now and the birthing options are nill. DM are just now coming out of hiding thanks to a change in the midwife laws over the summer. There is only one birthing center in the whole state, and one homebirth Dr. who has been in practice over 30yrs so may not be working much longer. Chicago does have much better options. I would have had my second as a homebirth, in a minute, but I couldn't afford to pay out of pocket.

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#28 of 37 Old 12-27-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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i had a similar experience as ohmymuffin. i was with the midwives and had a natural waterbirth, but there wasn't much time for them to intervene with anything. i arrived at 7cm and my son came two hours later. the one point of tension was that after agreeing to not heplock after getting a dose of antibiotics, they heplocked me anyway and i (in my birthing rage) ripped it out. they, nor i, were very happy about that.

even though the midwives are very nice, there are just too many policies and red tape at northwestern. it is a high-risk place, that's what they're used to, and that's what their policies are geared towards. even though i was lucky, i don't think that my experience is the norm for people wanting natural births.

i am doing a homebirth next time (for sure).
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#29 of 37 Old 01-09-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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I had my daughter at Prentice in July 2005, so I have not been to the new facility. I wanted a midwife practice and that's who took my insurance, so there I went. I am not going back. I found, like previous commenters, that they talked a big game about being supportive of natural birth but when the day came it was one intervention after another. I had to fight for extra time every time they wanted to do something. In the end, I delivered vaginally with vacuum extraction but I feel like I was LUCKY to make it out of there without a c-section.

I used childbirth hypnosis, which seemed to confuse the L&D nurses because I was so calm and pain-free.

Also, the post-partum care was not great. I got no support much less instruction with breastfeeding. A pediatrician actually SCOLDED me for being adamant about nursing. There was no place for my husband to sleep and no food was provided for him (fortunately, in an urban setting, we could order out!) The nurses also kept trying to take my daughter away to the nursery when I told them I wanted her to room-in.

Ariel Derringer is great and I really wish I could go back to her. But I am going to the midwives at Swedish this time (not really feasible for you since it's so far north) and am considering a home birth. There is a Home Birth meetup group at Bloom Yoga Studio in Lincoln Square. I know there are lots of women in this group who have homebirthed in tiny apartments, so it can be done!
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#30 of 37 Old 01-09-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Thistles_in_Snow View Post
There is a Home Birth meetup group at Bloom Yoga Studio in Lincoln Square. I know there are lots of women in this group who have homebirthed in tiny apartments, so it can be done!
There is a meeting tomorrow, Sat. the 10th. at 4 if anyone would like to come. Im planning on being there. All the women that come are very sweet and welcoming. This will be my second time going. I really enjoyed the last meeting.
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